Plans being drawn up to restore Walkerburn gatehouse

Walkerburn's Sunnybrae Lodge.
Walkerburn's Sunnybrae Lodge.

Plans are being drawn up to restore a derelict grade-A listed building in Walkerburn. 

Developer Neil Veitch, of Innerleithen, wants to revamp one of the two identical gatehouses at the entrance to Stoneyhill House and Sunnybrae House, both built for the mill-owning Ballantyne family.

The plans, if approved, would also see an extension built to the side of the property, although it would be within the confines of the building’s historic footprint. 

The village of Walkerburn grew from 1854 onwards around the textile mills of Tweedvale and Tweedholm, both owned by Henry Ballantyne, born in 1802. 

After his death in 1865, the company was passed to his five sons. Three left to run a mill in Innerleithen, but David and John Ballantyne stayed put and built Sunnybrae and Stoneyhill houses, including their gatehouse lodges, off Galashiels Road. 

The latter, now known as Sunnybrae Lodge, was constructed in 1868, designed by Lincolnshire-born architect Frederick Thomas Pilkington in early gothic style, but has been falling into disrepair for years and it has been on Scotland’s buildings-at-risk register for the last decade. 

Scottish Borders Council contractors have carried out various emergency works on the site over the last few years to make it waterproof and to secure it to deter vandalism, and in October 2014 the local authority used compulsory purchase legislation to acquire the property. 

In May 2017, the property was advertised for sale, with offers of over £65,000 being sought by Galashiels-based estate agent Edwin Thompson, and the gatehouse was sold in July of that year. 

A planning statement, submitted on behalf of Mr Veitch, director of Edinburgh-based building materials wholesaler Nomad-Ik developments, by Galashiels-based Camerons Architects, reads: “The proposal is to combine the existing lodge and stable buildings to form a single dwelling opening onto the existing walled courtyard on the north side of the buildings. 

“New flat roofs will be introduced between the lodge and stables and along the west side of the courtyard.

“Both enclose existing building footprints and respect the primary nature of the lodge and stable buildings.

“In order to bring the house into full use for contemporary family living, the project proposes to create a new kitchen and living space that will be located along the west side of the courtyard within the existing footprint of a previous dilapidated enclosure. 

“This extension will match the exterior of the north elevation with regards to the stonework and large metal framed glazing. The roof over this extension will be a green roof.

“The proposal seeks to restore this category-A listed building, rehabilitating it as a contemporary three-bedroom dwelling. 

“Overall, the proposed architectural moves retain the external appearance and the local identity of the buildings and their surroundings while reconstructing existing dilapidated outbuildings. 

“The alterations respect the character, materials and scale of the existing fabric and enable it to meet 21st century standards for contemporary family living by replacing all windows and doors and including new internal wall linings throughout the lodge and outbuildings, where materials and internal finishes have been carefully considered and selected to enhance its historical features.”